Scholars have been interested in agriculture and its impact on society and history because food production is such an important part of people’s lives. The focus has been specially placed on two major transformations in agricultural history: the Neolithic revolution, which included the domestication of plants and livestock, and the industrial revolution, which resulted in the processing of food in greater amounts for a capitalist society. Through the industrial revolution, technology has resulted in the creation of modern methods of processing and agricultural innovations. This has helped food production to keep up with population growth. This paper will discuss a feature in today’s world specifically almond milk by providing research findings on how it can be traced back to the beginning of agriculture.
Almond milk is plant milk, which is manufactured from almonds. The milk has a creamy texture and has a very nutty taste. Almond milk does not contain any cholesterol and lactose. Thus it is suitable for people who are allergic to lactose and an alternative for anyone who wants to avoid dairy products (Neville, 2015). Almond milk is the leading source of plant milk after it overtook the sale of Soymilk in 2013. The sale of almond milk has continued to increase in various countries where the commercial form of the milk comes in various flavors such as vanilla and chocolate and is often enriched with vitamins.
The popularity of almond milk is increasing at a very high rate. The product has become Americas’ most favorite substitute for milk with a growth in sales of over 250% since the year 2011 (Neville, 2015). The rise in consumption of the product is linked to the health properties of the product and the best supply of proteins for those who observe a vegetarian lifestyle.
However, even with the increase in the sales, the milk accounts for only 5% of the milk market (Neville, 2015). The dairy market has already identified the threat of almond milk and has thought of taking the necessary action. The rise in popularity of almond milk led to a shrink in dairy milk market by over $1 billion (Neville, 2015). The dairy market has identified this threat and has formed campaigns that are meant to increase their competitive advantage over almond milk. For instance, a recent advert that was funded by the dairy industry made efforts to reduce the popularity of almond milk by portraying the plant milk as less pure (Copeland, 2016). Another effort involves portraying the difference in the protein content between real milk and almond milk (Copeland, 2016). Research by the USDA has shown that the consumption of milk has declined by 37% since the year 1970 (Neville, 2015). The declined according to Forbes is based on the lack of dairy companies to undertake opportunities in the market and use proper marketing strategies (Copeland, 2016). They failed in their packaging methods making it difficult for their products to attract the attention of the consumers. Almond milk is slowly replacing dairy products posing a threat to the industry.
Almond milk did not just appear recently; it has been in existence since the middle ages. This is the period between the fifth and the fifteenth century before the modern period. During this period, there were several technological and agricultural innovations, which led to the development of new methods of food production. This contributed to the growth of population in Europe as trade flourished. Further, the climate change that that was experienced during the period allowed the yield of crops to increase. Almond milk was known to the Islamic world as well as in the Christian world (Copeland, 2016). Since it is a nut, it was suitable for consumption during the Lent period. Since cow milk had a very short lifespan, almond milk became a staple part of the medieval kitchens. Early evidence is the Almond-based Persian cuisine dessert, which is served during Ramadhan.
Almond milk can be produced both domestically and through large-scale production in factories. The method used to make the milk involves grinding almonds in a blender with water. Once ground properly, one needs to strain out the flesh of almonds. The liquid that remains is the almond milk. Alternatively, almond milk can be made by adding water to almond butter (Banjoko, Oyelola, Olatidoye, & Oyegbola, 2017).
Almond milk is extracted from almond nuts. The fruits of the almond tree are similar to cherries in that they are drupes. The drupes mature before they can be harvested. The drupes are ready for harvesting once the outer husk dries and splits. With time, they fall from the trees (Banjoko, Oyelola, Olatidoye, & Oyegbola, 2017). The harvesting should be done when almost all the almonds on the tree have split. The hulls are then peeled from the almonds, which are then laid out in the sun to dry. The dryness of the nuts can be determined by shaking them. The dry ones will rattle, which are then stored in airtight containers and frozen for some time to destroy pests (Banjoko, Oyelola, Olatidoye, & Oyegbola, 2017). They are then stored in fresh airtight containers at room temperature until they can be used to produce almond milk (Banjoko, Oyelola, Olatidoye, & Oyegbola, 2017).
Almond milk has various health benefits due to their high protein, vitamins, fiber, and mineral content. Since it contains no cholesterol, there is evidence that the milk helps lower LDL cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart diseases (Copeland, 2016). It is, therefore, a great substitute for dairy milk when taken on its own. The milk can be used to make various smoothies and shakes in place of dairy milk or yogurt. It can be used in making almost all the recipes that involve dairy milk such as ice cream, cereal, soup, mashed potatoes among others (Copeland, 2016). Therefore, almond milk would make a great substitute for dairy milk especially in the making of various food recipes.
The demand for almond milk will continue to grow due to the various opportunities that are provided by the industry. People have become more conscious about its health benefits, increasing the demand for substitutes for dairy products. The demand for these almond milk is expected to grow and thus the revenue for the industry (Neville, 2015). Almond milk will, however, face competition from other alternatives beverages, which include soybean milk and rice milk. Further, those in the dairy industry are already taking measures that will ensure that the demand for dairy milk is not affected by almond milk, thus posing a threat to the almond milk market (Copeland, 2016).
Banjoko, L. Oyelola, O., Olatidoye, O., & Oyegbola, J. (2017). Studies on the storage life of Almond Nut Milk using PawPaw Extract as a Local Preservative. The FASEB Journal, 645-16
Neville, A. (2015). Soy and Almond Milk Production in the US. IBISWorld, Retrieved on May 17, 2017: https://clients1.ibisworld.com/reports/us/industry/default.aspx.
Copeland, A.M. (2016). Consumer Demand for conventional Fluid Milk and Selected Dairy Alternative Beverages in the United States. (Doctoral Dissertation).